The Kremlin is the heart of Moscow, the origin of the Russian statehood and the most visited tourist attraction in Moscow. The Russian President Residence and the largest acting castle (by territory) in Europe has absorbed the mix of medieval history, unique architecture, Orthodox religion, Tsars and Soviet heritage, Imperial treasures and many others.
The Kremlin is located on the left bank of the Moskva River, on Borovitsky hill. The first fortress on this place was built in the 11th century during the reign of Dmitry Donskoy. Originally it was simple wooden fences with gaurd towers. Moscow's Kremlin walls were rebuilt in the second half of the 15th century during the reign of Grand Prince Ivan III and construction work lasted for many centuries.
Moscow and the Kremlin were captured by Napoleon's army in 1812, but soon withdrew from Moscow because of a fire. The communist's government was settled in the Kremlin in 1917. The Kremlin has been included in the UNESCO World Herritage List since 1990.
Entrance to the Kremlin
The visit to the Kremlin begins from the 2 remarkable towers: Kutafya (the only existing tower outside of the walls) and Trinity Tower (the tallest Kremlin tower, over 80 meters (262 feet). Between them lays a historical bridge over the river Neglinnaya which can’t be seen nowadays as it was taken into the underground tube at the beginning of XIX century.
State Kremlin Palace
Once you enter to the Kremlin you will see 2 massive buildings: on your left side is the Arsenal (the biggest building in Moscow at the time of construction (1701) used to store arms and weapons and on your right side is The State Kremlin Palace (the home to the famous Communist Party Congresses held during Soviet period).
This classical building housed the Governing Senate in Imperial Russia. Vladimir Lenin had his own office here during the Soviet era and today the whole building is the Working Residence of the Russian President. So, Mr Putin works here.
This really huge cannon (6 meters long, 40 tonnes) is the biggest arm ever made in the whole Russian history. That is why it has the title "Tsar". It is also the largest bombard by caliber (35 inches) in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. It was used at least once for real shooting.
Can you imagine a 200 ton bell made of bronze, 6,14 meters high and 6,6 meters in diameter? Just visit the Kremlin to be impressed: not only by its size but also its beauty. However this bell is so heavy that nobody has heard it ringing.
Ivan the Great Bell Tower
This remarkable bell tower is located right in the middle of the Kremlin. For a very long time it was forbidden to build anything higher than this bell tower, so that was the tallest at 81 meters (265 feet) building in Russia until 18th century. There are 21 bells and the biggest one weights over 65 tons (actually it is the biggest acting bell in the world).
This is perhaps the major attraction in the Kremlin. Built in the 15th century by Italian architects it became the main Cathedral of Russia. This is the oldest building in Moscow which fully survived. That is where all the coronations of the Russian monarchs took place in the past. There are religious services in the Cathedral on special occasions.
The survived frescoes are truly unique. They were made by famous Dionisius (head of Moscow school of icon painters) back in 1481. The composition of paintings is complex but very well structured and full of sense.
Archangel and Annunciation Cathedrals
Archangel Cathedral was the main necropolis for the Russian Tsars and Grand Princes until the time of Peter The Great when he has moved the capital to St Petersburg. There are 54 tombs inside the Cathedral. The Cathedral of Annunciation was the personal chapel of the Russian Tsars and draws your attention not only with the bright golden onion domes but also with its decoration inside.
The Armoury is one of the oldest museums in Russia (starting from 1808) and its main treasury. The museum consists of 9 halls and hosts one of the richest collections in the world. Enjoy your licensed private tour there (lasts 1,5 hours) and skip the line tickets.
The largest collection of Imperial Faberge eggs (10 eggs), regal thrones, Imperial carriages and other royal regalia. Also it has a very large collection of Western European and Eastern applied arts and jewels.